The Kennedy Museum of Art at The Ridges
By Theresa Russell

The Kennedy Museum of Art at The Ridges

Set high atop a hill with a view of Ohio University below, The Ridges conceals an interesting past and reveal an even more hopeful and bright present. Originally housing the Athens Asylum for the Insane, this High Victorian Italianate building contains several areas that have been renovated, one of which is the Kennedy Museum of Art. This part of Lin Hall was opened as a museum in the main administration building in 1996. The building was constructed in 1868.



The design of this impressive building followed the Kirkbride Plan, with a central administration building and wings to house the patients by sex. The interior of this building contains beautiful mouldings and other architectural details lending it to easily accommodate rotating displays and works of art.



Currently, 50 Year Journey: Ron Kroutel Paintings continues through April 22. Ron is an Emeritus Professor of Art at OU’s School of Art + Design. His works bring his time in Ohio and his experiences as an artist to life. Particularly fascinating is the van he used as his mobile studio. He prepared paper blackened with compressed charcoal. He tossed in a drawing board and then drove around until he found a suitable subject and then proceeded to work on his project. His drawings and paintings depict life in rural America.



Sighting Progress: The Voinovich School 10th Anniversary Photojournalism Exhibition relates the projects of the students in the Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The exhibits do change, so be sure to consult the museum website.



The Kirkbride Plan called for a humanitarian focus on treatment and encouraged patients to partake in chores and activities. The therapeutic benefits of art are well-known today. How very appropriate that this space, once focused on improving the mental condition of its patients has became a gallery to showcase art works. My visit to the Kennedy Museum reinforced the concept of art as therapy and as an invitation into the lives of others.

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